Good MORNING!!! (good night)

I’m reading this title in the weird high-pitched voice I use to say good morning to cats when one appears (from sleeping, that is, not just like a random cat. I would in that case say hello, and not good morning, obviously). The reason is that I am talking about MY SOURDOUGH STARTER!!!!! And it is the closest thing I have to a pet.

Yes, that’s right: SHE IS AWAKE! (Yes, she. My Russian tutor tells me I may not call my plant “she” in Russian because “plant” is neuter; well, I ignored her then, and I’ll… ignore her now? if she tells me sourdough starter is neuter? Also, what should I name her? The sourdough starter, not the Russian tutor. She has a name.)

Day eight billion something

Anyway, a few days ago it finally became cold in New York, such that it was possible to conceive of turning on the oven at some point in the near future. I decided it was time for the sourdough’s hibernation to end. I took it out of the fridge and, well, to be perfectly honest, poured a lot of weird gray liquid down the drain, and then scraped a lot of weird gray former sourdough starter off the top and sides and put them in the garbage (and even took out the garbage). Then I fed it with some nice new whole-wheat flour and water and put it in the back of the oven with the oven light on.

The (temporary) problem was that the heat wasn’t actually on, so it was still super cold, and my sourdough starter is very sensitive to temperature, as I know from when it appeared to die last spring. I hoped it would somehow perk itself up in the oven.

Day eight billion something + 1

It didn’t, but this morning I was down by the stove dealing with sourdough things and felt a weird warm breeze. I was like, what is that?? Why is it warm? Where is it coming from??? It was heat coming from the radiator. I literally forgot what heat was. So I fed the sourdough (I removed some more of the old starter, since I have no idea what flour/water ratio it’s at, and put in exactly[ish] an ounce of flour and an ounce of water) and put its pot-holder hat on and put it on the floor by the radiator.

I got home tonight and IT WAS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!! It was all frothy and bubbly!!!!! I was deeply excited. Here is a picture of the corner of my apartment where all the alive things live (except me).

Plant and sourdough starter in kitchen

The weird dark layer is liquid, and it is supposed to be there (I think/hope).

(Oh, and except the cockroaches; I don’t know where they live.) (Also, I like that picture, and you can even see my cool Russian art through the window.) Continue reading


If it’s meant to be, you will find him.

I met a very wise Hare Krishna on Saturday while my family and I were looking for our Hare Krishna cousin at the Hare Krishna festival in New York. He gave us that nugget of wisdom (see title) instead of telling us where our cousin was. I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t. Nevertheless we did find him in the end; I suppose it was meant to be.

We were coming from brunch so we didn’t partake of the free feast, but everything looked amazing and chickpea-ful and saucy and spicy and warmening. (Hare Krishnas are vegetarian; my cousin preached at us a bit. Then I had a cheeseburger for dinner.) So when I was deciding what to cook for the week, the only thing that appealed was something Hare Krishna-esque. I found this AMAZING website with tons and tons and tons of fascinating and beautiful vegetarian Indian recipes, and I might make nothing but recipes from this website for the rest of my life. (I hate summer, and never really want to eat anything; I am not big on salads. So I’m probably just going to cook recipes from hot countries all summer.)

After an extensive deciding interlude, I settled on Bengali red dal curry (you’ll have to scroll down). (It was between that and pear dal, which I had never heard of before and thus was really intrigued by.) I also decided to do a vegetable thing vaguely following the Aviyal #4 recipe.

I ended up using regular brown lentils instead of red—I’m a little out-red-lentiled lately—but, spoiler alert, it came out fantastic and it’s definitely my biggest success with brown lentils to date.

I chopped my jalapeños, first slicing the tops off and carving out the inside using my paring knife to remove the ribs and seeds. I put them in my bigger saucepan with the lentils, water, salt, and turmeric. (It is QUITE salty, which makes it taste really good. I don’t think I’ve ever made a recipe soon that actually specified the amount of salt, and this was a perfect amount for me. But if you’re not me perhaps you’ll want less.) I cooked it for a while while doing other cooking activities—I didn’t time it because the recipe was for red lentils and brown take longer, but it was probably somewhere around thirty to forty minutes.

After cooking

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